ST. LOUIS – Ralcorp net earnings were $26.2 million, or 47c per share, in the second quarter ended March 31, which compared to $83.3 million, or $1.52 per share, in the previous year’s second quarter, when the company still included the Post cereal business. A spin-off and distribution of the Post business to shareholders was completed on Feb. 3.
Diluted e.p.s. from continuing operations was 59c per share in the quarter ended March 31, which compared to 80c per share in the previous year’s second quarter. Amounts related to plant closures, provision for a legal settlement, merger and integration costs, and the accelerated amortization of intangible assets negatively impacted diluted e.p.s. A mark-to-market gain on economic hedges partially offset those factors.
Net sales for the quarter ended March 31 rose to $1,062.2 million, which compared to $917.3 million in the previous year’s second quarter. Net sales grew as a result of the company acquiring the North American private-brand refrigerated dough business of Sara Lee Corp. as well as higher net pricing in all segments in response to rising commodity costs, Ralcorp said when giving financial results May 22.
The refrigerated dough business contributed about 8c to adjusted diluted earnings per share. Ralcorp estimates the business will contribute between 34c and 36c to adjusted diluted earnings per share in fiscal 2012, which is an increase from a prior estimate of 30c.
In the company’s Cereal Products segment, net sales for the quarter rose to $219.9 million, up 11% from $198.9 million in the previous year’s second quarter thanks to increased volumes and higher net selling prices.
Cereal Products segment operating profit dipped 10% to $20.3 million from $22.5 million. In the second quarter a manufacturing facility in Los Alamitos, Calif., was closed after terminating a co-manufacturing business that did not meet minimum profit margin requirements. The lower operating profit in the quarter reflected manufacturing inefficiencies as the company rescales its co-manufacturing operations at another facility.
In the company’s Snacks, Sauces & Spreads segment in the second quarter, net sales rose to $407.7 million, up 7% from $382.2 million in the previous year’s second quarter, but segment operating profit slipped 2% to $32.8 million from $33.3 million. Lower volumes, higher raw material costs, increased freight costs and higher selling expenses offset improved net selling prices and favorable sales mix.
In the company’s Frozen Bakery Products segment in the second quarter, net sales rose 43% to $275.3 million from $192.7 million, and segment operating profit climbed 17% to $26.7 million from $22.9 million. Ralcorp primarily attributed the increases to the acquisition of the refrigerated dough business. Excluding the acquisition, segment sales rose 2% and operating profit fell 29%, driven by lower volumes, higher raw materials, freight, plant overhead, research and development costs, and unfavorable foreign exchange.
In the company’s Pasta segment in the second quarter, sales rose 11% to $159.3 million from $143.5 million, partially attributable to incremental sales from the acquisition of Nonni. Segment operating profit fell 30% to $25.5 million from $36.6 million, partially as a result of lower sales volumes and primarily due to higher raw material costs, which were not offset completely by related net selling price increases.
For the six months ended March 31, Ralcorp companywide had net earnings of $91.5 million, or $1.66 per share, which compared to $154.6 million, or $2.82 per share, in the same time period of the previous year. Six-month sales rose to $2,228.7 million from $1,869 million.
Ralcorp originally planned to release second-quarter results on May 16. The release then was delayed until May 22 as the company concluded internal and external reviews related to restating its financial reviews for fiscal 2011 and the first quarter of fiscal 2012.